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Not Waiting


Location: Washington, DC

This week, the President began using the refrain "we can't wait" to push for passage of his jobs bills. I agree that we can't wait to empower job creators to bring down unemployment. The House of Representatives has been doing nothing that could be categorized as "waiting."

The House is actually the first to act on part of the President's jobs plan. This week, we passed repeal of a 3 percent withholding requirement on certain payments made to contractors doing business with federal, state, and local governments. The President actually issued an official Statement of Administration Policy supporting the bill.

In 2006, the withholding provision was created as part of a larger tax bill. The intention was to keep part of a government payment until it was assured that a contractor had paid all of their taxes. While it certainly is only right that government contractors pay what they owe, the withholding provision was not the best way to make this happen.

If the provision goes into effect, businesses would be deprived of the resources they need to hire and complete the work. Also, state and local governments would be burdened with new administrative costs trying to ensure compliance. Right now, the withholding rule is set to take effect in 2013. Both the President and House Republicans agree that it should never go into force.

Right now, we're waiting on the Senate to take action. The other chamber voted on a similar bill last week. While it received full support of Republicans and some moderate Democrats, it fell three votes short of the 60 needed for passage. In the House, our bill passed 405-16. I hope that the overwhelming response of our chamber will convince the Senate to give the bill another chance.

This piece of the President's jobs plan isn't the only thing waiting in the Senate. Since the beginning of the year, House Republicans have been passing bills to protect and create private sector jobs. Right now, there are 15 waiting in line.

None of these bills are baldly partisan. They each passed the House with at least some bipartisan support.

H.R. 872, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act, reduces overlapping and unnecessary regulations on pesticides. It passed the House on March 31 with support from every Republican and 57 Democrats. That's more that one-quarter of Democrats in the House. If just one out of four Senate Democrats support this bill, it would pass with 63 votes.

H.R. 1938, the North American-Made Energy Security Act, directs the U.S. State Department to issue a timely ruling on the construction of a new pipeline between the U.S. and Canada. This pipeline could create thousands of jobs during construction and would supply oil from our friendly northern neighbor for decades. The bill again received overwhelming bipartisan support, passing 279-147.

H.R. 2250, the EPA Regulatory Relief Act, alleviates the regulatory burden of the EPA's new Boiler MACT rule. This rule could cost the economy more than $14 billion and 224,000 jobs. The bill passed with 41 Democrats supporting, 275-142.

There are 12 other bills just like these, passed by the House and waiting in the Senate.

Why do we need these bills? The U.S. is falling behind in important measures of ease of starting and running a business. The World Bank recently released its "Doing Business" report of conditions around the world.

While the U.S. was ranked fourth in the world overall, some of the individual measures used to make the broader ranking show a disconcerting trend. In the "ease of starting a business" category, the U.S. is ranked 13th in the world. Just four years ago, we were third.

The vast majority of new businesses are small ventures. These small businesses account for the majority of job growth--65 percent of new jobs created in the last 17 years.

We have to stop making it harder for businesses large and small to create jobs. While there are lots of things Republicans and Democrats disagree on, we all want to see new jobs created. The actions of the House this week, and throughout the year prove that we can work together.

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